Sports

VIBI battles on basepaths

Vancouver Island Baseball Institute Mariners player Cody Phipps slides back to the bag during a drill at practice on Tuesday afternoon at Serauxmen Stadium. - GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin
Vancouver Island Baseball Institute Mariners player Cody Phipps slides back to the bag during a drill at practice on Tuesday afternoon at Serauxmen Stadium.
— image credit: GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin

The home openers were delayed a couple of weeks, but the VIBI Mariners finally get to play at home this Saturday (April 9).

They should be well worth the wait.

Vancouver Island Baseball Institute certainly used its time away from Serauxmen Stadium to battle hard on the ball diamond. And even though the M’s won just one of four against the tough Thompson Rivers University WolfPack in Kamloops last weekend, manager Jordan Blundell was full of pride in how his team fought through adversity.

“I like our ball club,” he said. “Our guys get better as the year gets going and I think we’ll be there at the end of the year, battling it out.”

Players gave themselves a chance to win, played past midnight one night, impressed scouts, and came together as a team.

“It shows character; it builds character,” said Adam Paulencu, VIBI ace. “Later on in the year we’ll go 3-1 on a weekend like that.”

Blake Robson, VIBI outfielder, said “knowing that everyone was fighting for the same goal” brought the team closer.

“There were a couple things that didn’t go our way and a couple things that went their way,” he said. “But we fought pretty hard the whole time we were there.”

So even in defeat, the M’s proved something to themselves.

“It gives us a lot to look forward to, knowing that we do a couple more things right and we’re going to be a pretty good club,” said Jon Przybyl, VIBI pitcher.

Coming close reinforced for the M’s what a difference one more big hit or big play can make in the outcome of a ball game.

“You’ve got to learn how to win, you’ve got to learn how to finish, you’ve got to learn how to focus and play the whole game,” said Blundell.

He believes the VIBI Mariners will get there. The manager has said in the past he likes his players to be a “bunch of battlers” and that’s the identity this M’s team is developing.

“These kids are tough and they don’t complain and they answer the bell and they do things we ask and they’re classy,” Blundell said. “And they play hard.”

GAME ON … The VIBI Mariners play the University of Calgary Dinos at Serauxmen Stadium on Saturday at 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m., then again Sunday at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com

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